Ruhan Pretorius is on the look-out for a new club after receiving the shock news yesterday morning that North Down have released him from his contract.

The 29-year-old South African, who qualifies through residency to play for Ireland at the end of next year, admits it leaves him in a difficult financial position just three months after getting engaged. He had to ring his fiancée at work and she was in tears by the end of the telephone call.

A North Down statement said: “The Club Executive Committee has today released Ruhan from his contractual obligations for 2020/21.
“Over the past four years, Ruhan has turned in consistently high performances for the 1st CI, scoring over 4,000 runs and taking over 100 wickets and culminating in the team winning the Robinson Services League Cup in September.

“We would like to wish Ruhan all the best in his future endeavours, both on and off the field, particularly in his quest to represent Cricket Ireland.”

Pretorius had no inkling that his four-year stay at the club was ending until yesterday morning.
“The club phoned me this morning and wanted a meeting,” he said. “There, they told me they were giving me two months’ notice and they were releasing me. They didn’t go into much detail, just saying it was costing them a lot of money and in these Covid times the committee had made the right decision.

“It has left me a very bad place financially and in the dark before Christmas.”
And while the all-rounder is sure to have many suitors, Pretorius believes it could be difficult for him to remain in the NCU.

“All the NCU clubs have already signed the majority of their players, and we are in the middle of a pandemic. Waringstown have signed up theirs, Carrick have signed four players and CIYMS have signed Murray (Commins).
“There is the option of moving to the North West or Dublin, but having just got engaged it’s not an ideal situation.”

Although shocked at the way it ended, he has nothing but good things to say about North Down.
“Playing-wise, the guys at the club have been brilliant. I have no hard feelings to the club, it’s the position they are in. They have looked after me for four years and I don’t have a single bad word to say about the club and never have.
"I am going to miss North Down’s batting wickets, although I will have two goes to play on it if I stay in the NCU!”